Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Degrees of Insecurity: Graduate employment issues in Scotland

a paper by Matthew McLister published by Citizens Advice Scotland

Executive Summary

In April 2012, CAS launched an online survey aimed at recent graduates who are unemployed, have struggled to find a graduate level job or have faced difficulty since leaving university. The survey aimed to explore issues that are affecting graduates who have suffered from unemployment, underemployment or who have struggled in some form since graduating. The survey featured a range of questions on issues that affect graduates including; the support they have received in finding employment, internships, attitudes to the government and employers, as well as what advice they give to current students to increase their employment prospects.

The number of graduates has increased over the decades but the number of graduate level positions has not kept pace, particularly since the recession hit the UK in 2008. Many graduates can therefore find themselves unemployed, in a lower skilled position than they might have expected to achieve with a University education, or in a position of financial insecurity.

The destination of a graduate matters not just to the individual but also to other workers. Many graduates enter jobs at a different level or field than they are qualified for, or undertake part-time employment which can have the effect of displacing other workers down and out of the job market. The problems experienced by graduates can therefore cause ripples throughout the wider workforce.

The problems that graduates experience in employment can also have an impact on the future health of the economy. Graduates who fail to find employment in their chosen field may not develop the skills and experience gained through work to carry on from a retiring work force. The struggles of graduates may therefore lead to a displacement of skills in the economy.

This report examined the support that is available to graduates before, during and after they leave university. The transition from full-time education into employment is a crucial time for a graduate as the problems that they may experience can affect their employment prospects for a number of years. Their success in making this transition can be closely related to the support and guidance that the individual received at school, from the university careers service, during their degree, from internships, and from the Jobcentre if they found themselves unemployed. This report found many instances of good practice in providing support and guidance to students and graduates, but also identified areas which could be improved.

This report outlines a number of ways in which better support can be provided to graduates to make a successful transition into the workforce. Failure to do so will impact not just on the graduates themselves, but on other workers and on the future health of the economy.

These introductory paragraphs are followed by very useful and clearly set out pages on Key Findings and Recommendations.
I would also refer you particularly to pages 14-22 where the survey respondents provide information on support to find employment throughout education.

Full text (PDF 36pp]

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